May 21

Neandertal and Neandertalers

We took a walk through nature today, through the beautiful Neandertal, which is located in Mettmann, about 20 minutes from Velbert.

What is the Neandertal and what does it have to do with Neandertalers? Well… Wikipedia can describe it better then me, so allow me to copy and paste 😉

The Neandertal (English pronunciation: /ˌnˈændərˌtɑːl/; German: [neˈandɐtaːl]) (sometimes called “the Neander Valley” in English) is a small valley of the river Düssel in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, located about 12 km (7.5 mi) east of Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia. The valley lies within the limits of the towns of Erkrath and Mettmann. In August, 1856, the area became famous for the discovery of Neanderthal 1, the first specimen of Homo neanderthalensis to be found.

The Neandertal was originally a limestone canyon widely known for its rugged scenery, waterfalls and caves. However, industrial mining during the 19th and 20th centuries removed almost all of the limestone and dramatically changed the shape of the valley. It was during such a mining operation that the bones of the original Neanderthal man were found in a cave. Neither the cave nor the cliff in which the bones were located still exists.

During the 19th century the valley was called Neandershöhle (Neander’s Hollow), and, after 1850, Neanderthal. It was named after Joachim Neander, a 17th-century German pastor. Neander is the Greek translation of his family name Neumann; both names mean “new man.” Neumann lived in nearby Düsseldorf and loved the valley for giving him the inspiration for his compositions. Former names of the gorge were Das Gesteins (The Boulders) and Das Hundsklipp (Cliff of dogs, perhaps in the sense of “Cliff of Beasts”).

In 1901 an orthographic reform in Germany changed the spelling of Thal (valley) to Tal. Scientific names, such as Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis for Neanderthal remained unchanged, because the laws of taxonomy retain the original spelling at the time of naming. Neanderthal station nearby still carries the name Neanderthal, because the nearby Neanderthal Museum retains the original spelling.[1]

Excavations in the Neandertal Valley Since the initial discovery of the specimen of the valley there have been additional excavations. Multiple artifacts and human skeletal fragments have been found in the valley. Excavations have found two cranial fragments that seem to fit onto the original Neandertal 1 calotte. A calotte is a skullcap worn by students at Catholic universities in Belgium. Excavations performed in 1997 and 2000 found new human skeletal pieces. There are questions as to whether these remains are those of Neandertals. Two cranial pieces were unearthed: one, a left zygomatic and partial body and second, a right piece of temporal bone. These pieces appeared to fit the Neandertal 1 calotte perfectly, although these pieces are not specifically from Neandertals. These discoveries may or may not be attributable to the Neandertals but exhibit similar characteristics.

2016-05-21 14.05.29Difficult to see on the photo, but there’s “Seele” (soul) written on the question mark scupture.

2016-05-21 14.06.112016-05-21 14.06.48-1
The river “Düssel”. Not exactly the Rhine ;-). By the way: the city of Düsseldorf takes its name from that little river. Düsseldorf means: the village of Düssel.

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We took a one hour walk, then had a bite to eat before heading to Mülheim to see two movies. First one was A Hologram For The King, starring Tom Hanks. Nice enough movie for a Saturday afternoon. Didn’t hurt, but won’t make any deeper impact.

Second movie was X-Men: Apokalypse. Gotta say I was never that much into the X-Men franchise and haven’t followed it enough to be totally familiar with what it is about and all the mutants. Only started watching them with the latest installments with James McAvoy as Professor X. I never really “got”, why these newer movies all played in the past where the characters were younger. Only read an article about it the other day which explains the whole thing. Basically it works with X-Men like it works with Star Wars. There were originally three Star Wars movies back in the day, and then someone began to tell the story of what happened before the very first Star Wars – in three chapters. (Correct me, Star Wars nerds, if I’m wrong). And now it’s the same with X-Men. The three pequels started with X-Men: Fist Class in 2011, followed by X-Men: Days Of Future and Past and now ends (?) with X-Men: Apokalypse.

I was fine with these movies, but not in a way that would make me a fan-girl. And about Apokalypse… I dunno. It was okay to me, although I thought that the oh-so-mighty super mutant was a tad bit lame in the end? It seems that many of the X-Men nerds are only semi-happy with this latest movie.



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